Partnering with communities to provide optimum health and wellness
Poor health is a barrier to receiving a high quality life for individual students, their families and their communities. Current issues in health as they relate to children include:
Access(1). Families reported 3 major barriers: lack of insurance coverage, poor access to services, and unaffordable costs. Disproportionate reporting of these themes was most notable based on insurance status. A higher percentage of uninsured parents (87%) reported experiencing difficulties obtaining insurance coverage compared with 40% of those with insurance.
This issue is particularly relevant for children who live in communities of color. A recent report from the Minority Health Initiatives states that children of color are more likely to lack health coverage: There are currently 8.1 million uninsured children in the US and more than 5 million of them are children of color.
Obesity. Over the past three decades, the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children ages 2-5 years and adolescents ages 12-19 years, and it has more than tripled for children ages 6-11 years. Children of color are more likely to be overweight than Caucasian adolescents. Obesity leads to elevated total cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin or blood pressure. The obesity-associated annual hospital costs for children and youth more than tripled over two decades, rising from $35 million in 1979-1981 to $127 million in 1997-1999.
Poor nutrition. Lack of nutritious food choices leads to many health issues including poor dental health. Poor dental health is one of the leading causes of absences for school-age children.
The current signature initiatives of The Harris Institute:
Community Health Leaders (CHL)
In 2010, the Harris Foundation was designed the National Office of the Community Health Leaders (CHL) program. Unsung heroes are fighting these battles in local communities every day. Administered by the Harris Foundation, the Community Health Leaders Award is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation which recognizes those individuals who are working to improve health and expand access to health care in their own communities.
For more information on the program and to see the 2010 awardees, please click here. The 2011 Call for Nominations has now been closed.
Innovative Medical Mission (IMM)
Innovative Medical Missions (IMM) is a program designed to address disparities in access to healthcare in the developing world through the use of advanced medical technologies.
The key aspects of this project are the creation of a platform for bringing advanced technology and novel treatment model for indigent care focused on managing medical missions, designed to train practitioners to coordinate medical missions and continuation of care in high-risk areas with resource-limited and nonexistent healthcare.
1. Insurance plus Access Does not Equal Health Care: Typology of Barriers to Health Care Access for Low-Income Families, Jennifer E. DeVoe, MD, DPhil; Alia Baez, BA; Heather Angier, BA; Lisa Krois, MPH; Christine Edlund, MSc; Patricia A. Carney, PhD.,Ann Fam Med. 2007;5(6):511-518.